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An Interview with Karla Rodriguez


Looking at Karla Rodriguez's work feels like running carefree through a patch of wildflowers before settling down for the most impeccable high tea of your life. It's impossible not to feel happy browsing her illustrations of unearthly creatures, mystical maidens, and fairy tale epics.


The first time I looked at her art, I marveled at the care she put into her watercolor paintings and the sheer beauty of her designs, from the buoyant curls on her female characters to the delicate gossamer wings on her fairies. But as I gazed at her work more, unable to take my eyes away from her mesmerizing style, it dawned on me that her art is also stands as a monument to the power of imagination, and the need all of us have to daydream, to indulge in childish whimsy from time-to-time.


It sounds hyperbolic to say that when I look at Karla's paintings I forget all of my problems, all of the issues facing the world right now, if just for a minute, but it's true. I lose myself in her pastel and sepia hues. To call it pure escapism would be underselling the deeper themes of acceptance and female empowerment in her work, but what I mean is when I'm looking at Karla's art, I feel completely transported to a distant land, away from all this. And when I finally come back to the real world, I have a newfound sense of power and confidence, ready to tackle the issues that lay ahead of me.


What work are you most proud of? The work I’m most proud of it’s Heart of the Forest and Heaven’s Parade.  I think I did a great job at the composition of the fairies or daughters of the air. And I loved how it ended up framed for the exhibition Elements (Haven Gallery). Heart of the Forest it’s a piece I painted slowly and calmy, that’s why I’m proud of it.


Who are your inspirations and what lessons have they taught you? Lots of artists, one of my main inspirations it’s Marina Bychkova and her Enchanted Dolls. When I was at college I saw her work and I learned she too struggled in her work and found her voice. There are many artists I found a similar voice I follow and I’m attracted to. Similar feelings represented in their paintings of sculptures. I love fairytale artists like John Bauer, Sulamith Wulfing, Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac... and artists from this century Like Felix Mas, Alessandro Barbucci, Barbara Canepa, Lostfish.


What’s been the most transformative experience of your life? I think love. When I was young I used to think love was different from how I see it today. I was so hungry for love that I forgot to love myself first and love my work.


How would you describe your creative process? Now I do it with caution. Before it was a mess but now it’s ordered. Step by step I try to do it right.


How would you describe your creative sensibilities? I like to portray calm faces or bodies showing that. Love in dance, signing, nature, surprise and hope, love and wonder. Sometimes nostalgic scenes or faces.


How do you hope people react to your work? I would like my work help them or inspire them, or maybe identify themselves in some pieces.


Would you say you create things mainly for yourself or for others? When it’s about illustrations I do it for myself. The products I do (key chains, pins, patches) I do 50% for myself and 50% thinking of others. When it’s about products you have to think if people will like them and use them. If I do like them and love my work I can transmit that feeling to them.


What’s your favorite memory?

When I used to go to San Diego with my grandmother when I was Young. It was fun. We had our Passports ( I think Visas weren’t created yet at that time) and we traveled to USA early and returned at night.